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FDA issues hand sanitizer advisory

While we make efforts to follow CDC guidelines for safety during COVID-19, such as wearing a face mask, social distancing, and frequent handwashing, we must also be sure the products we are using are both safe and effective.

A good source of information for product updates is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. The FDA has many responsibilities, including protecting the public by ensuring the safety and efficacy of commercial products sold to the public. During this global pandemic, knowing there are agencies looking out for our well-being can be reassuring.

Most recently, the FDA issued an advisory encouraging consumers to avoid using methanol-containing hand sanitizers manufactured by Eskbichem. Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol and wood alcohol, can be toxic when ingested or even absorbed through the skin, causing short- and long-term health issues in people.

Check the active ingredient list of your current hand sanitizer packages for methanol (or its other names), and do not use if the package contains this ingredient. Instead, you are advised to dispose of the product as you would other chemical waste products.

If you purchase hand sanitizer, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol—also known as ethyl alcohol and grain alcohol—as the active ingredient.

The CDC and FDA update their websites regularly. So, be sure to check frequently to help keep you safe, informed, and up to date! The updates are not only related to COVID-19, but to a variety of products that may pose a threat to consumers health and safety.

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